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it all slipped out on the second evening, probably
after she had been telling me how splendidly Mrs.
Ampney's nephew had done out in Mesopotamia.
Also I didn't omit to mention that I had been recom-
mended for a Military Cross. "But I thought you
were only looking after the horses," she expostulated,
clutching my hand; her anxious face made me wish
I'd held my tongue about it. Of course. Aunt Evelyn
wanted me to do well in the war, but she couldn't
enjoy being reminded that "do be careful to wear
your warm overcoat, dearie", was no precaution
against German bombs and bullets. Afterwards I
excused myself by thinking that she was bound to
find out sooner or later, especially if I got killed.

Next day I walked across the fields to Butley and
had tea with my old friend Captain Huxtable. I
found him chubby-cheeked as ever, and keeping up
what might be called a Justice of the Peace attitude
towards the war. Any able-bodied man not serving
in H.M. Forces should be required to show a thunder-
ing good reason for it, and the sooner conscription
came in the better. That was his opinion; in the
meantime he was working his farm with two elderly
men and a boy; "and that's about all an old crock
like me can do for his country." I gave him to under-
stand that it was a jolly fine life out at the Front,
and, for the moment, I probably believed what I
was saying. I wasn't going to wreck my leave with
facing facts, and I'd succeeded in convincing myself
that I really wanted to go back. Captain Huxtable
and I decided, between us, that the Push would finish
the war by Christmas. While we talked, pacing to
and fro in the garden, with his surly black retriever at
our heels, the rooks cawed applaudingly in the clump
of elms near by as though all were well with England